Following a two-year hiatus, the hottest-ever versions of BMW's 6 Series chargers will be back in showrooms later this year. Despite their staggered formal world debuts and on-sale dates, the new 2012 BMW M6 Convertible and 2013 BMW M6 Coupe share all of their key M Performance design elements. With more power, enhanced vehicle dynamics, greater luxury, and significantly improved fuel economy these new Gen III M6 models are poised to start writing their own illustrious chapter in BMW's Big Book of Ultimate Driving Machines. First to appear in public will be the 2013 BMW M6 Coupe slated for a debut in Geneva next month and a late-summer arrival in BMW dealers here. In a classic bit of Teutonic pretzel logic, the 2012 M6 Convertible will take to the stands in April at the New York Auto Show but go on sale here in June.
Heart of both new M6 models is the most powerful engine ever fitted to a BMW M car: an M-spec 4.4-liter direct-injected V8 that's also shared with the new 2012 BMW M5 Sedan. Fortified with two M TwinPower Turbo dual-scroll force feeders, Valvetronic variable valve control and Double VANOS infinitely variable valve timing, it makes 560 horsepower at 5,750-7000 rpm and 500 lb-ft of peak torque which plateaus from 1,500-5,750 revs. Not only is this V8 more potent and more responsive than the 5.0-liter V10 used in the previous-generation M6s, Brake Energy Regeneration and BMW's Auto Start-Stop technology also help make it some 30 percent more fuel efficient.
While BMW reportedly is pondering a six-speed manual transmission, when the new M6 models launch, both will back this all-around overachiever with the automaker's seven-speed M-Spec Double Clutch Transmission (M-DCT), a sequential gearbox that incorporates a uniquely tuned and driver-selectable three-mode Drivelogic System and steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles. Rounding out the drivetrain is an electronically controlled Active M Differential. Fully integrated with the car's specially-calibrated Dynamic Stability Control system, it can instantly vary rear-axle lockup from 0-100 percent in response to differing surface conditions, thereby maintaining optimum traction and stability.
BMW says the New M6 Coupe can sprint from 0-62 mph in just 4.2 seconds and the M6 Convertible needs only 4.3 ticks to hit that mark. Both cars are electronically limited to a 155-mph top speed. To help them make best use of that potential, each benefits from unique structural reinforcing and features a full M-spec suspension package that includes driver-selectable Dynamic Damper Control, staggered-width performance tires (265/40 front and 295/35 rear) on 19-inch light-alloy wheels and upgraded antilock disc brakes. Those seeking more stick and stop can opt for a 20-inch wheel/tire upgrade and, for the first time on any BMW, a Carbon-Ceramic Brake package.
Like other M cars, the new 2012 BMW M6 Convertible and 2013 BMW M6 Coupe feature unique styling touches. In addition to their M-spec wheels, these new M cars feature more aggressive front/rear fascia treatments with larger air intakes, LED accenting on the standard Adaptive Xenon Headlights, more boldly flared fenders to accommodate their wider track dimensions, rear diffuser with quad exhaust outlets and a bounty of M6 badges. The M6 Coupe is crowned with a weight-reducing carbon-fiber composite "double-bubble" roof that also helps lower the car's center of gravity while the M6 Convertible shares its full-power soft top with its standard 6 Series counterpart but gets a lighter glass-fiber composite cover for the roof panel compartment -- which is the same material used for the decklids on both cars. Other mass-minimizing touches hiding in plain view include aluminum hoods and door panels as well as thermoplastic front fenders.
Inside, both of these new M6s feature individual seating for four and a bevy of dedicated cosmetic and functional design flourishes highlighted by M Multifunction sport seats wrapped in extended premium Merino leather, carbon-fiber accents Anthracite-colored headliners from BMW Individual, and M-spec instrumentation. Also included is BMW's trick M Drive system that allows a driver to individually adjust up to six different operational systems - including the optional M Head-Up Display - as well a the latest iteration of iDrive with a 10.2-inch central control screen.
Expect more complete information, U.S. specifications and pricing on both the 2012 BMW M6 Convertible and 2013 BMW M6 Coupe to be released closer to the car's on-sale date.